Archive for April, 2010

I recently read an article that suggested that american workers are lazy because americans are now getting 117 hours of leisure time per week vs

I recently read an article that suggested that American workers are lazy because Americans are now getting 117 hours of leisure time per week vs. 110 hours per week in 1965. The suggestion was made that in a global market economy eventually American earnings will decline as they are overtaken by a country that works more hours such as China.

I can’t help but think that this reaction is a subtle reflection of the famous organizational behavior conflict, Theory X vs. Theory Y. Theory X states that although managers try to say all the right things they really operate under a certain set of negative assumptions about the employee:

-Work is inherently distasteful to most people

-Most people are not ambitious, have little desire for responsibility, and prefer to be directed

-Motivation occurs only at the physiiological and security levels

-Most people must be closely controlled and often coerced to achieve organizational objectives

Theory Y on the other hand states:

-Work is as natural as play if the conditions are favorable

-Self-control is often indispensible in achieving organizational goals

-Motivation occurs at affiliation, esteem, and
self-actualization levels, not just security,
physiological levels

-People can be self-directed and creative at work if properly motivated

In other words, according to Theory X employees are mostly lazy, they need to be told what to do and unless they have a fear of losing their job and their livelihood they will not be productive. In a struggle that has been going on for years, many corporate managers continue to believe at varying levels in this false, outdated view of the American worker.

Now I am not a global economist but I think the bigger question here is “What are we doing with this extra leisure time?” I think it is extremely short-sighted to suggest that Americans are lazy unless you can answer this question. In other words, are those roughly 7 extra hours a week being spent on Clint Eastwood movie marathons or are they being invested in family or on productive thought outside of the workplace?

I think this number is a reflection of the changing of the guard in this country. Americans are taking the lead in understanding that in the Work-Life Balance there is a law of diminishing returns. In other words it’s not about just working hard but working smart. So much can be accomplished in less time due to technological advancement, amplified access to information and an increased interconnectedness in this world. Try being a workaholic for a week and see how fulfilled you actually feel. Something is going to be missing whether it is your family or social relationships or just your ability to plan your next big idea.

Just think about how much the world and the economy has changed since 1965 and how rapidly it is changing as we speak. Who is going to be more prepared for adapting to that change someone who has the opportunity to sit back and look around at what is happening or some guy logging extra hours in his cubicle in China?

I believe that the most productive worker will be the one who is doing what they enjoy because they have been given options and have been valued as an employee. Yeah, I’m a theory Y guy and I think we are working less because we are working smarter and U.S. companies better get with the program because Generation Y is coming and they are going to make 1965 look like the dinosaur era.

The average person has absolutely no control of their time

The average person has absolutely no control of their time. When it comes to managing this area of their lives, people tend to be abysmal. Some might be competent when it comes to their working hours. However, when their personal lives are factored in, they receive a failing score.

Have you ever met someone who is consistently late? For whatever reason, they are always 5-15 minutes behind. Of course, they will be courteous by calling to let you know that they are running behind. Yet the bottom line is that they never met you at the agreed upon time. What is interesting is to note how these same people live their lives in general. It seems that someone with this problem tends to have a life that is a mess also. They cannot manage any aspect of it. Their basic operation is to run from one situation to the next. Amazingly, even though they are constantly busy, they appear to get very little done.

There is a fundamental philosophy that comes true regardless of what people do to get around it. Basically, if you do not get control of your time, there is no way that you will ever have control in your life. Failure to manage our time puts us in the position of duplicating the aforementioned scenario. We move from one activity to another without making any apparent progress. Our time is spent in a continual state of emergency while we place our focus on the urgent instead of the important. True success comes from being able to handle those activities which have a meaningful impact upon our lives. Getting to this point accelerates all our efforts in everything we do.

There are two simple practices one can implement immediately to garner a bit more control. The first involves keeping your word. It is essential that we begin to do those things we say that we are going to do at the time that we agreed upon. The habit of letting ourselves off the hook is too easy a trap to fall into. We must raise our standard of conduct in this area. Regardless of what else is occurring, treating each time commitment as a life or death situation will aid in creating a new habit. If we are consistently late, it is a sign that we need to more attentive to the commitments that we make. It is a good idea to initially cut back on some of the activities we consent to. This relieves us of some of the pressure which results in us operating at a harried pace.

The second area that can be immediately changed is to be conscious of any perfectionism complex that we might have. Many people with time management issues have an need to do everything perfectly. They will continue with an activity far beyond the acceptable level of performance. This stems from having a low self worth. To compensate, they attempt to make their results extraordinary. Unfortunately, this creates a situation where things take longer than they should. Watch someone operating under this premise and you will see a task take 3 times as long as it should. The easiest way is to remember that a great deal of success is derived from the simple act of completing something. Often, others expectations are a lot less then ours. Give them what they require, but allow yourself to be less than perfect.

Gaining control of our time instantly improves every area of our lives. The more that we can focus our attention on those things which are truly important to us, the fuller our lives will become. Some of the most successful people operate at a pace that is fast yet unhurried. People who are hurried tend to make senseless mistakes. Careful consideration to how you are spending your time and what you are agreeing to will show those tasks which are important to you. A little planning will go a long way to achieving your ultimate end.

You see in movies and tv all the time that the successful businesswomen are cold hard witches (the devil wears prada anyone

You see in movies and TV all the time that the successful businesswomen are cold hard witches (The Devil Wears Prada anyone?) Well why does this have to be the case? Sure sometimes you have to make difficult decisions and put your business before your friends and personal relationships, but this is the great thing about owning my own business I never have to make these types of sacrifices in order to be successful. Nothing is worth that type if sacrifice. Lets be serious if you don’t have family and friends to share your success with then what’s the point of being successful? For me the biggest reason I own my own business is so that I can make my own rules and be there for my family and friends when they need me, to celebrate the good times and the bad. That is what success is about for me.

Being nice will ultimately pay off. I am a strong believer in karma and that everything will happen for a reason. In saying that you may think that I am some kind of hippie, optimistic, secret loving person. Truth is I would rather surround myself with positive people and thoughts and aim towards self -improvement then be a cold hard witch and run every one over who is in my way.  They may come into an early success but it will be short -lived and somewhat unsatisfying. I would rather pay my dues, learn and help others in the business and wait a little bit longer to achieve my goals.

After all this said having thick skin is still useful in the industry. No matter what you do and what goals you achieve there will be people who will put you down and who are jealous of you success.  Although you may find their words hurtful and uncalled for this is when you put up your tough exterior and push through. Business is always going to be a cut throat and competitive business, no matter how positive and optimistic you stay always keep that thought in the back of your head. Never give up and never loose yourself in order to achieve your goals.

To your success, Kendra Sullivan

Let’s begin this conversation on corporate culture by defining what it is

Let’s begin this conversation on corporate culture by defining what it is.

The more formal definition is:

“Corporate culture is the collective behavior of people using common corporate vision, goals, shared values, beliefs, habits, working language, systems, and symbols.”

The less formal definition of corporate culture can be said in 6 words:

“How we do things around here.”

Why does it matter?

Because good corporate culture fosters good employee satisfaction and good employee engagement. Satisfied and engaged employees deliver the highest quality services. And satisfied customers build your business!

How to build corporate culture.

1. To build corporate culture you need a clear vision of how you want your clinic to look and feel and what values you want reflected in your clinic.

This vision must be communicated to your team; your team members need to see the connection between this vision and what they do.

I would even suggest that you formulate your business and practice vision jointly with your team, so that the vision is a part of them and their daily practice.

2. To build corporate culture you, as the practice owner, need to believe in and offer praise and a positive attitude, at all the times.

When we praise someone, they want to repeat the experience.

When we fail to reinforce employees for doing the right things, they unconsciously say, “There’s no benefit to doing this, so why bother”.

Human beings crave feedback and will avoid situations where they don’t get it.

3. Building corporate culture means that you are transparent with information, you explain things to your team, you seek input, and you build trust by doing what you say you are going to do.

Consistent, frequent and meaningful communication is fundamental to building positive corporate culture.

4. Recruit and select the right people who embrace the type of culture you are creating.

It is important to make this a part of your hiring process by asking questions related to practice values, team values, and personal aspirations. Ask for examples or experiences the person has had in these areas to demonstrate what she/he is saying or espousing.

5. Creating social traditions and bonding opportunities for your team also builds your corporate culture. For example, holding annual staff recognition events.

The Golden Nugget:

At the end of the day, your effectiveness as a leader is determined by how well you surround yourself with great people.

You too can become a great leader. Learn from other great leaders!

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